Over 1200 meals were distributed on November 25

PASO ROBLES — On Thursday Nov. 25, over 1,200 meals were distributed to the community for the 37th Thanksgiving for Paso Robles at Centennial Park.

Chairman David Kudija reports that while it was one of the lightest days they’ve had for dine-in meals, Turkey Day went “Amazingly!” The Thanksgiving crew delivered more meals than ever before, which Kudija attributes to COVID and people wishing to stay home.

There were 1,500 meals prepared and about 1,200 meals distributed, about the same as the past few years. Originally, Kudija said they prepared for meals to be in higher demand due to challenging circumstances from the last two years.

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This week, Thanksgiving for Paso Robles is working on distributing leftovers from Thursday’s meal. Some leftovers were brought to the El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) shelters in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo (SLO). About 20 pumpkin pies were brought to the Bridge Christian Church in Paso Robles and given out to the congregation. 

Afterward, three leftover pies were taken to the Centennial Park Staff. 

“They [the staff] went above and beyond this year, helping us do all the arrangements to make this happen,” said Kudija.

While the annual Thanksgiving dinner went off without a hitch, three weeks prior, there were concerns the group would not be able to pull off the dinner due to a lack of volunteers.

Thanksgiving for Paso Robles is 100 percent funded by donations and run by volunteers. It takes approximately $9,000 and 200 volunteers to put on the annual dinner.

Volunteers begin prepping and cooking the meals on Monday and are ready to serve almost 2,000 people by Thursday.

Beginning of November, there were only 80 volunteers—over 100 short of what it takes to put together the dinner. However, Kudija says after getting the word out, volunteers signed up in droves, “The community really stepped up, and we were flooded with volunteer requests the last two weeks—we ended up having to turn volunteers away.” 

Now it is time for Kudija and his crew to soak in the rest of the holiday season and absorb what they learned from this year’s Thanksgiving. In January, they will go over what they learned and any new ideas for the next Thanksgiving.

Lastly, Kudija says, “A tremendous thank you to the community, to all the media who helped us get our word out, to all of our volunteers. That’s who make this happen—this really is 100 percent a community event. We’re completely funded by the community. It’s community members who roll up their sleeves and pitch in and make it happen.”

About

Thanksgiving for Paso Robles is a “celebration of thanks serving over 1,500 men, women, and children from all communities, a traditional Thanksgiving meal at no cost. A true expression of community that brings diverse people together to share the day with others. 

For more information on Thanksgiving for Paso Robles, visit thanksgivingforpasorobles.com